Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't Blame Me If You Get Fired Because of This

Today, I come across what could be the best time-waster, productivity-killing site on the Internet. I'm not a golf player but has set up this free golf game. The graphics are realistic, the play is extremely easy, and the game itself is enjoyably challenging. Best part is that you don't have to wear bad clothing to play. In fact, this is the only time you can swing in your underwear without anyone getting teed off.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Happens to My Job Now?

It looks as though the sale of the company that I work for is about to reach its final stages. Since upper management has told us very little, rumors have been rampant. We're reasonably sure they're not going to shut down the business. We're not sure if a corporate relocation may be in the works once a sale is finalized. We do know that the company president did very well. He had a 3% ownership which the new owners bought out. We've also learned that he received a very nice severance package as CEOs usually do. This probably explains why he's been smiling like he never has since I've known him. Either that or he drowned a litter of cute kittens over the weekend.

As for us pions, we hope that the new owners will be business people --- ones who understand the importance of rewarding workers for their blood, sweat and tears. This would be a happy change after dealing with owners who fattened their bank accounts by treating their workers as necessary evils. One thing that I've learned from working here is that business integrity can be like oxygen. The higher you go, the less of it there is...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Busting out of New York

I've heard that you can become rich by investing in companies that have a big demand for their product or service. Based on recent news, I've started checking the stock pages for any mover NYC type companies. According to reports, elected officials in New York have done an excellent job in taxing their citizens. Businesses and people are now starting to show their approval by leaving New York in droves. So I'm guessing that now would be the time to ride this exodus wave and invest in a few moving companies. Naturally this means staying out of New York while I earn my money ... and hoping that those people who voted for those greedy bureaucrats, don't decide to move and spread their infectious politics my way.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cutting the Mustard Instead of the Cheese

Living on a strict budget means giving up on finer quality foods. So when I was asked to give an honest review on two of Grey Poupon's latest specialty mustards, there was no pause between the request and my eager affirmative answer. Well, maybe a tiny pause when an immediate, uncontrollable drooling may have interrupted my response.

Since the 80s, Grey Poupon has been one of my favorite Dijon mustards. But I haven't bought any in several years. It's not that the Grey Poupon is expensive. But when you save a few cents here and there buying the cheap stuff, the savings add up --- especially when the cheap stuff turns you off of mustard all together. So after all of this time, would these new Kraft mustards be fitting of the Grey Poupon brand name? I got my answer a few days ago when I received "Hearty Spicy Brown" and "Harvest Course Ground" bottles. Like a Karl in "Slingblade", the first thing I had to have was some mustard 'n biscuits. A simple taste test, "Ummm Hmmm." Yet I almost hurt myself when I opened each of those jars; the tangy aroma caused my tongue to try and beat out my teeth and lips to get to that tantalizing taste. After sampling these two incredibly savory flavorings on bread, I had to try them on hamburgers.

Now I know that some of you believe that red meat is bad for you. From my experience, I have found red meat to be good but blue-green meat, now that is bad for you! So I coaxed a couple of fresh burgers into a mouth-watering, well-cooked, succulent state and spread each of the golden brown sauces on them. Usually, the pleasure of food is second to the pleasure of sex. But not this time! It's tastes like these that could make you become celibate. I have to hand it to Kraft for the way they added just the right amount of diced yellow onion in their "Hearty Spice Brown" mustard. And you might think that using the whole mustard seed in "Harvest Course Ground" would over-power the taste of the meat. But this isn't so. Even my hamburger begged for more of that mustard.

Finally, unlike other condiments in my fridge, the Grey Poupon bottles have a "best used by" date on the lids. Very helpful for a guy like me who often has to go by degree-of-fuzziness, color, or that ultimate of tests - "does this smell funny to you?" when cleaning out the ol' fridge.

All-in-all, I give these new Grey Poupon mustards two thumbs, 8 fingers and lickable knife up. I think I am going to have to put Grey Poupon back on my shopping list. Life is too short to miss out on pleasures like these.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Neighbor Tries To Exercise Again

My next-door neighbor constantly goes through spurts of diet and exercise. Yesterday, I watched as the UPS truck pulled up and delivered his latest exercise equipment into his carport. I walked over to see what he got as he began to open the box. Inside was the latest craze -- exercise steps -- very nicely made and pricey. I then watched him pickup his new fitness toy and walk up three stairs into his house. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between walking up and down mail order steps and using the house's stairs? I know that with the exercise steps, you can feel an immediate lightness. But it's all in your wallet. Of course, this is the same guy who told me about his punishing exercise program a few months ago: two minutes on one of those treadmills, followed by a lie down, a glass of whiskey, and a cigarette. Now that's punishing ... which explains why he gave up the treadmill!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Con-DOH! Hotels

I live in a bird sanctuary, according to the town charter. This means all the birds can fly and roost safe from muggings, kids with bb guns and hungry animals. How serious is the town in protecting our feathered friends? Well, don't be surprised if you see an episode of "Cops" about the town's officers chasing down a cat who is suspected of hunting birds. You would see our finest tackling this evil animal; then, with its feline face down in the dirt, the police would shout "Paws behind your back, you mother plucking bastered!" and roughly put little kitty cuffs on the perp. But that's why we don't have any cats in jail. They know how serious the town takes its charter.

So it didn't surprise me when I heard about the construction of condor hotels in the area. I did however think it was rather extreme. With a large influx of new military families into the town, I thought the focus would be on people instead of on a bunch of flocking birds. I voiced my concerns with my neighbor. He just looked at me. Then with a voice of someone explaining the obvious to an idiot, he said, "It's not condor. It's con-DO! They're building Condo Hotels!" oh. Sometimes I feel like such a birdbrain ...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

For Whom The Wedding Bells Toll

I stood in front of the pious place and debated whether or not to enter. Did I really want to be a part of this wedding? Overhead, the church bells interrupted my internal struggle as they began their melodious chiming. Some think of this matrimonial sound as wedding rings that herald the beginning of new life. Others refer to these clangs as death tolls for the lives of two innocent people. Kind of like a funeral where the couple get to smell their own flowers. I'm inclined to agree with the second group since I know a little about this wedding couple. In fact, the usher confirmed my worst suspicions when he greeted me with, "Bride's side or Groom's?" Oh great! They're not even married yet and already I have to choose sides! I picked the balcony.

The ceremony wasn't too bad. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Mainly because of an overpowering aroma --- a cross between body oder and rotten onions. Though they might be next to godliness sitting in their pews, this crowd needed a few showers before they reached the cleanliness level. Fortunately, the ceremony was quick. The preacher stood in front of the nervous couple and simply asked the blushing bride, "Do you?" She blushed not because of the intimacy of the question but because of her dress. It was a few sizes too small and had started to give up on its herculean task of covering her body. Starting as a tiny tear behind her neckline, the immaculately white dress began ripping ever so slowly down her back. All we could do was watched in stunned silence. It reminded me of the way an icy crack would creep down the side of a glacier. We could hear the high pitch ping as threads snapped one by one in a deliberate, meandering fashion. The bride, feeling this agonizingly slow break away of her dress, quickly answered the preacher, "I do! I DO!" This anxious outburst must have touched her husband-to-be very deeply. For he gazed longingly, lovingly into her panic stricken eyes and said ever so romantically, "Ditto!". The bride then grabbed the groom, the rings, a quick kiss, the back of her dress and dashed to the church basement for the festivities.

The reception was lousy. But what do you expect from an old 13 inch, black-and-white television that sits in a church basement using a coat hanger antenna? However, this didn't stop the children from watching a local PBS station --- which didn't please the father of bride. "Turn off that dang TV!" he bellowed, "This ain't no time for learnin'!" What a great motto for this wedding. I almost wished they had added it to the fine invitation that I received; an invitation that had been painstakingly hand-written in crayon. As for the wedding reception, it was on par with the TV's reception --- very flaky. This group had a strong dislike for anything that wasn't American. This meant no Swedish meatballs and French bread for the buffet. They used paper plates instead of the good china because they passionately felt there was nothing good about China. These were slices of American cheese. Someone even brought a few neutral vegetables such as very old broccoli and ... dip. What is the next stage after sour cream? You know, there's cream, then sour cream. But what's that next stage when sour cream has progressed to coagulated chunks and green flakes that aren't necessarily parsley? That's what they had for dip.

Soon, the bride, now with her dress held together by a couple of safety pins, announced that she and her new husband were ready to leave. We stepped outside into the fresh air and filed along the pathway between the church and their get-away car. I don't remember too much because I was concentrating on filling my lungs with as much clean air as possible. I do recall that most of the guests were clapping as the newlyweds walked along the path. Those who weren't slapping their hands together, were holding bags full of rice. Since the bride wasn't pregnant, it wasn't puffed rice. Just the regular stuff. Those guests would reach inside their bag, pull out a handful of rice and toss it straight into ... their mouths as though it was popcorn. So I can tell you that no birds died from thrown rice. Unfortunately, the bride jumped into the car. This is unfortunate because one safety pin couldn't take the strain any longer, shot off from her dress and skewered a bird as it happened to fly by. So much for 'safety' in 'safety pin'. This innocent creature of the air arced gracefully in its final flight and headed for the crowd. You would have thought that the bird had become part of the ceremony as the men, fresh from the recent hunting season, began scrambling to catch the bird. I'm not sure which lucky fella caught the bouquet bird. At this point, I passed out from hyperventilating. As I laid on the ground, listening to the ringing in my ears that wasn't from church bells, I looked up and realized something very important. I was at the wrong church. No wonder I didn't recognize anyone. Perhaps I was wrong about the church bells. Perhaps there's hope for this couple after all. But then again this was a fairytale wedding --- very Grimm.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What To Do With Your Extra Car

Lately I've been reminded how charity begins at home. Usually it's about 6:30pm when they call and interrupt my dinner. It's not that I don't enjoy giving of my time and money. Its just that it is much better if I do so without being tricked or guilted into giving.

A couple years ago, I learned about charity groups using donations of unwanted vehicles to fund their operation. I contacted one local group who helps poor families and gave them one of my cars that I was no longer using. This was a very satisfying experience for all of us.

Nowadays, several nonprofit groups, such as public radio stations and private colleges, have a car donation program to help raise money. I'm sure that you can find a group that serves causes that are near and dear to your heart. For example, if instead of feeding the poor or protecting the environment, you have a deeply held desire to get Christian DVDs into the hands of children and teens, you could contact Car Angel ( This group has already made and freely distributed over 2.4 million proselytizing videos. You can watch an example of what they've done at

Whatever group has your heart, you have two choices: you can let your old, beat up car become a rusting monument in your yard or you can help out a worthwhile charity. I think that the latter is the better choice. Don't you?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Speedy Road To Recovering my Time

I had a nice Christmas surprise yesterday as I toured through You might not think it to be very much but I learned that North Carolina has finally opened a direct link to I-95 just a few miles from my house. No longer will I have to travel 45 minutes out of my way to reach the interstate. Just out my door and a smooth 10 minute jaunt down the road! Of course, I shouldn't be so excited. After all, this is North Carolina. The way urban planning is done around here, the 60 mile an hour, four-lane easy access link will soon have condos for sale, strip malls galore, and a plethora of traffic lights every 50 feet. Who knows. Perhaps the state and the county will do their jobs and actually plan the urban development. Yeah, right after a flock of flying monkeys take up residence in this area.